With the gig economy on the rise and a boost from the pandemic, remote work has become something of a by-word. Even the people who would originally haven’t considered it have now begun to realize there’s more to remote work than meets the eye.
The complexity of the factors contributing to a rapid shift to digital nomadism — the trend that holds appeal for many people — is difficult to explain without an in-depth analysis, so we’ll stick to the obvious.
For starters, remote work allows the employee to choose from a number of international clients. This alone means that to start working remotely you’ll need a solid device and a good internet connection. Location is rendered irrelevant.
With the pandemic having changed a whole lot of approaches, many countries are now seeking new ways to attract capital. The result is that a rising number of countries are now offering some kind of digital visa and great tax reductions.
A study on digital collaboration has shown that when asked to rate the quality of digital collaboration within their company, respondents gave an average score of 6.5 out of 10. All the more reason to consider how to stay productive when working remotely.
1. Choose the Right Tools
Proper tools can make or break your productivity. Two of the most crucial tools that can be utilized when working remotely are our email client and our project management tool. It’s a no-brainer that a good email client is of immense importance, seeing as communication takes place online.
Many people use Gmail, and for good reason. The client is user-friendly and free to use, but sadly, has a number of shortcomings for professional users. Luckily, there are a number of Gmail apps suitable for the task.
No one wants to wake up to a sloppy inbox first thing in the morning, after all.
2. Keep an Eye on Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is an important topic for any business, but things are a bit more complicated when it comes to remote work. Sadly, it is all too easy to forget the human factor when working remotely.
To prevent this from happening, it is crucial to build a company culture and habits for employee engagement, similar to startup practices.
To that end, measuring employee engagement is a trusted source of information. Always keep in mind that people are different and may not be motivated by the same things as others. Anonymous feedback is a good idea.
However, make the questions relevant. Here are some ideas:
- Have you received managerial recognition for your engagement in last month’s project?
- Have you received team member recognition for your engagement in last month’s project?
- What would be your idea be for a fun group activity at the upcoming company gathering?
- Which projects are most satisfying for you?
- Describe what you did during last month to make something better.
3. Stay focused with OKRs
Company goals should never be overlooked. With remote teams, things may get more complex as people are still getting used to new practices. It is a good idea to create a process that helps with setting goals, one of the most popular ones is the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
A large percentage of managers claim that aligning employee goals to the organization’s top priorities is the golden rule of success. Organization-wide alignment is crucial, but also calls for reorganization.
To keep on top of OKRs, you should motivate employees to be more productive by setting the scene that aligns the two above-mentioned goals.
4. Keep Communication Going
Getting the ropes of remote team management implies proper work delegation, which is, in truth, not much different than in the office setting.
It goes without saying that everyone should get familiar with the apps and tools used, but beyond that, it’s all really about team management and task delegation.
It’s paramount for managers to keep in touch with their respective remote teams on a regular basis. Company updates should also be circulated, but not too often.
Meetings are probably the trickiest part, especially for large organizations. There are no general tips for this matter, either, seeing as there’s a wide variety of practices and different tasks, but common sense should be employed.
For example, general meetings should be staged only when needed and certainly not too often. The single most difficult thing for remote workers is the distraction of daily meetings. Work interruption should be avoided at all costs.
Large meetings should be linked to specified milestones, rather than be held on a weekly or daily basis. Communication practices should be established for teams, and employee feedback should be taken into account in the process.
5. Keep Encouraging Employees
It’s not rocket science that satisfied employees are the ones that are capable of driving progress, so you should make an effort to inspire people, show them respect, and set up an award system that will be recognized and welcome.
You don’t want to manage a team of people looking for better opportunities. Keeping employees happy and engaged by recognizing their efforts and encouraging ideas is the way toward a healthy business environment and long-term success.
Act on the feedback. Introduce new practices aligned with employees’ wishes and show them that their input is valued.
Build a culture of trust and engagement aligned with company values, and delegate praise where it is due.
6. Be a Leader
Much has been said about the differences between managers and leaders, but the area remains vague for many.
Mainly, leaders encourage their teams and work alongside them, overseeing engagement and valuing input.
Forget about control and rigid business practices and, in time, you’ll start seeing palpable results.
Engaged teams don’t look for better job opportunities and always give their best at work because they know their work will be recognized and rewarded.
No matter how big the offer, people will opt for stability over tempting benefits that may or may not pay off.
Bottom line, if you treat your remote workers as equals and allow them to grow, the company will grow, also.
Ensuring productivity is a lot of work but once the methodology has been established, things will inevitably start looking up.